Expertise and the Economies of Knowledge of Architectural Practice in the Islamic World since 1800 | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2045-5895
  • E-ISSN: 2045-5909



The editorial introduction to this special volume presents the theme of this collection of articles: ‘expertise’ in the architecture of the Islamic world since 1800. Taken together, these articles address how the processes of empire building, modernisation, statecraft and diplomacy – some of the most common themes of architecture in the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries – have been contingent on a web of expertise defined by a rich and varied array of authors and contexts. These studies demonstrate that while European and later North American agents and paradigms of expertise left a strong, often forceful, imprint on the architecture of the Islamic world, a number of dynamic forces internal to Islamic tradition, from the practices of gardening to mosque design, from the mural to the master plan, consistently inflected these imprints. They turn our attention away from an obsession with agency and historiography towards the vicissitudes and specificity of historical and cultural context.


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